I’m writing over at The Glorious Table today.
On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb. (John 20:1-11 NASB)
Seeing the empty tomb helped those disciples believe Jesus was the Son of God, but it was not so for Mary. She wept. Jesus had died on the cross three days earlier, and a large rock had been placed in front of the tomb’s entrance (Mark 15:46–47). Mary had witnessed everything. And now her emotions flooded to the surface.
Mary had sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to his teachings. She’d watched him raise her brother Lazarus from the dead (see John 11). Mary knew Jesus well and was loyal to him. She stood at Jesus’s cross until the very end of his life.
I wonder if her arrival so early on that third day was in part because she sought closure about this man she had called the Son of God (John 11:27). Was Mary the type of person who needed to see a body to truly accept that Jesus was dead? Was her sense of duty to finish the burial heightened by the fact that the disciples were hiding, afraid for their own lives?
The unknown is a challenging place to live. For three years Jesus had walked the earth and been a part of Mary’s life, but now he was gone.
Did Mary weep not only because the body was gone, but because she was frustrated? I wonder if she was like me. If so, she would have come to the tomb in part out of personal longing, out of a need to stop living in limbo. Trying to move forward, even if that meant accepting Jesus’s death. But where was he? Continue reading here…